Cathal Goulding: Thinker, Socialist, Republican, Revolutionary, 1923 - 1998
Organisation: The Workers' Party
Contributors: Info
Seán Garland, Tomás MacGiolla
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Subjects: Cathal Goulding

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

1st November 2011

This document was printed by the Workers’ Party to commemorate the late Cathal Golding, former Chief of Staff of the IRA and later pivotal figure inside Official Sinn Féin as it transitioned to the Workers’ Party [and many thanks to the person who donated it to the Archive]. 38 pages long it contains the speeches and poems given at his funeral in 1998 and includes an introduction by Des O’Hagan, of the Ard Comhairle, the orations by Sean Garland, Pat Querney and Tomas MacGiolla.

The orations are explicitly political in tone, and although celebratory of Goulding’s life also at times harshly critical of political opponents.

There is also a preface to this volume. It notes that…

Cathal had no illusions as to the nature and power of the enemy capitalism or the immense task he and his comrades set themselves so many decades ago. From an early age he set about wining people and organisations to his viewpoint as to what was to be done. Very often he was in a minority position and had to work with many people who held totally opposite opinions to him and yet he never lost heart. He always found some way to drive the movement for socialism forward. As a Marxist revolutionary he understood Lenin’s dictum of ‘One Step Forward And Two Steps Back’.

And it quotes from an interview Henry kelly conducted with Goulding in 1975 where he argued that:

‘Our job is to do away with the present social and political system that exists and to establish a socialist state. But we cannot do that until we have the power. We are quite prepared to form an alliance with other parties of the left with whom we have similar objectives. You see a revolutionary rejects no form of struggle. Agitation, education, infiltration and so on are all part of the struggle. Socialism is a philosophy for me, it’s a science which means in fact the greatest happiness for the greatest number. I don’t think people should be sacrificed for socialism. I think that socialism must begin to develop the minute a socialist government takes over and that, if the people don’t understand or are hostile and begin to resist, it is the duty of the government to educate them, not to force them. It’s going to be a long time, of course, in Ireland.’

And continues later:

Cathal strove all his life to […] make the mass of people, the workers, realise that it is their world and in the words of the Wobblies’ (Industrial Workers of the World - I.W.W.) great song: ‘In our hands is place a power greater than their hoarded gold; Greater than the might of armies; magnified a thousand-fold. We can bring to birth a new world From the ashes of the old.’

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  • By: GypsyBhoy Tue, 01 Nov 2011 20:43:57

    Reading this brought back a lot of memories. One thing I’m curious about is what Noel McFarlane is up to? I remember him as being a very good writer and good crack to have a pint with.

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